Heritage Auctions is the largest collectibles auctioneer and the third largest auction house in the world. Established in 1976, they have offices in Beverly Hills, New York City, San Francisco and Europe. On October 6 and October 7, 2011, Heritage held an auction at the Hyatt Century Plaza in Los Angeles offering many items from the estate of the late John Wayne.
After almost 40 years in storage, Wayne’s family decided to make these items available to collectors and fans alike and those collectors and fans didn’t disappoint — spending $5.4 million dollars on roughly 700 lots. I’ve said it a couple of thousand times before and I will say it again, you got to love the auciton business!
A portion of the proceeds will go to his cancer foundation for research. Mr. Wayne died of cancer in 1979 ending a career that spanned almost six decades, in which he starred in over 170 films. This two day auction is considered a record breaking event but those of us who were fans of the Duke aren’t all that surprised.
An American icon more popular than apple pie, who wouldn’t want to own something that belonged to him? His recommendation of James Arness alone for the role of Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke, after having turned it down himself, cemented his place in the hearts and minds of everyone who loved TV westerns.
For all the final results of this once in a lifetime auction, go to the Heritage Auctions website. Here are just a few of the highlights:
John Wayne’s last California Driver’s license sold for $89,625.
His beret from the movie The Green Berets sold for $179,250.
His Golden Globe Award for True Grit sold for $143,400.
The eye patch he wore in True Grit, for which he won an Academy Award, sold for $47,800.
Thanks, Mr. Wayne, for all the great memories. No one will ever fill your boots.
11/15/2011 by Anne Benedetto